Spoiler alert: 2019 promises to be a blockbuster year for global cinema

Updated 25 December 2018

Spoiler alert: 2019 promises to be a blockbuster year for global cinema

  • Audiences are in for a treat with some highly-anticipated films
  • Sneakpeeks show most trekking new frontiers with inclusive, genre-redefining storylines and plots

ISLAMABAD: Representation and inclusivity were the recurrent themes for movies which released in 2018.

With mega successes such as ‘Black Panther’ which featured an almost all-black cast and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ which starred an all-Asian cast, the films ensured that we were treated to storylines which we don't get to experience in our day-to-day lives.

The trend continues in 2019 with filmmakers leaving us spoilt for choice. Here is a list of movies that seem to be worth the watch:
Let's begin with a film that is closer to our hearts and our homes.

‘The Legend of Maula Jatt’ is expected to be one of the biggest headliners in Pakistan. A story based on a Punjabi fable, it stars an all Pakistani cast, and is written, directed, and produced on Pakistani soil. While the original was released in 1979, next year's edition seems to be a delight for the senses with the official trailer having amassed more than 400,000 views since being released recently.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBWdUf7wfaE

Disney has a handful of live action films hitting the big screens next year, one of which is ‘Aladdin.’ The beloved cartoon of the 90s was the obvious choice in the line of films to be remade with a live action treatment following a series of successful ventures from the franchise. The story of Aladdin --- which was adapted from ‘1001 Nights’ -- will see several actors of color (primarily from Middle Eastern and North African countries) essaying the roles of Jasmine, Aladdin, the Sultan, and Jafar, to name a few. The film was and continues to the only Disney story where the characters are from/inspired by the Middle East.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g5knnlF7Zo

Another Disney film that’s coming to animated life is ‘The Lion King.’ Set in Africa, it was only fitting that the live action film would see actors of colour lend their voices for the project, while the music too pays an ode to the culture of the region. Donald Glover, Beyonce, James Earl Jones, Alfrede Woodward, and Chiwetel Ejiofer are just some of the talents lending their voices;  with Glover playing the role of the future king, Simba.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CbLXeGSDxg

Easily one of the most anticipated films coming out of the Marvel franchise's stables, Captain Marvel’ will (finally) be releasing in March. One reason for the timing of the film's release could be because of the summer release of ‘Avengers: End Game’. Captain Marvel, who happens to be a woman, is perhaps the most powerful hero Marvel has created. Following 2017’s ‘Wonder Woman,’ it will now be the second film which focusses on the story of a woman superhero.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1BCujX3pw8

Speaking of ‘Wonder Woman,’ the sequel, ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ is releasing next year too. The first film was a box office mega success, smashing records and breaking down barriers that had kept films with women in lead roles away from the big screens. The first edition was directed by a woman director, Patty Jenkins, who is also taking the helm for the sequel. 

‘Spider Man: Far From Home’ the sequel to ‘Spider Man: Homecoming’ releases two months after Avengers 4 in July. ‘Homecoming’ starred not one, not two, but three actors of colour in significant roles --- namely Zendaya and Laura Herrier who played MJ and Liz, while Jacob Battalion an actor of Filipino descent played Peter Parker’s best friend, Ned. The film was also one of the most inclusive films to be released from the Marvel universe with a number of background actors representing diverse backgrounds. The trailer is yet to release and is mostly likely to be posted closer to date.

With a few more dollops of actors of colour and featuring female Jedis and commanders of armies (both bad and good) ’Star Wars Episode IX’ which will continue to go further into the plot and stories set up in ‘Episode VIII’ releases next year as well. The Star Wars revival which kicked off with ‘Episode VII: The Force Awakens’ introduced black storm troopers, asian characters who save the day and women leaders steering the ship.

Last, but not the least is 'Frozen 2’ which promises to thaw your senses, following the first installment's tremendous genre altering success in 2013. ‘Frozen’ told the tale of two sisters and their love story -- a big break from the traditional damsel in distress approach most princess stories are subjected to. Though much has not been said about the sequel which will hit films in November of next year, it’s safe to say that they will continue to break the mould and redefine Disney’s princess films.


Disney tops earnings estimates ahead of streaming launch

Updated 10 November 2019

Disney tops earnings estimates ahead of streaming launch

  • Revenues in the past quarter were boosted by a 52 percent rise in Disney’s studio operation
  • Disney has become the biggest Hollywood player with the acquisition of studio and TV assets from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox
SAN FRANCISCO: Walt Disney on Thursday reported better-than-expected quarterly results, fueled by the release of blockbuster films “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” as it prepared for its new streaming television service.
Disney profit in the recently ended quarter was $1.05 billion, down from $2.3 billion a year ago, on revenue that grew 34 percent to $19.1 billion.
The slump in profits came as Disney absorbed key film and television operations of 21st Century Fox and geared up for its launch of the streaming service Disney+ that aims to compete globally against Netflix and others.
“We’ve spent the last few years completely transforming The Walt Disney Company to focus the resources and immense creativity across the entire company on delivering an extraordinary direct-to-consumer experience,” said Disney chief executive Robert Iger.
“We’re excited for the launch of Disney+ on November 12.”
Iger said the company reached a deal for the service to be on Amazon’s Fire TV platform, the latest distribution agreement for Disney+.
Disney shares were up more than five percent in after-market trading following release of the earnings figures.
Revenues in the past quarter were boosted by a 52 percent rise in Disney’s studio operations with box office hits “The Lion King,” “Toy Story 4” and “Aladdin” fueling gains.
The entertainment giant expects revenue in the current quarter to be boosted by the forthcoming release of a sequel to “Frozen” and the final installment of the “Star Wars” film saga.
It will thereafter take a “hiatus” from “Star Wars” box office films but has an array of spin-off shows planned exclusively for its streaming service.
Disney has become the biggest Hollywood player with the acquisition of studio and TV assets from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.
However, integrating Fox into Disney has cost more than expected and the newly added studios have brought in less money than hoped.
Disney saw smaller revenue gains in its cable and broadcasting operations as well as its theme park division.
Iger would not disclose details of pre-sales of Disney+ subscriptions, but said the price — $6.99 monthly — has met with “great enthusiasm” by consumers.
The Disney+ online streaming service will debut in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands before gradually expanding internationally in Europe then rolling out worldwide.
Its films and TV shows will be available, along with the library it acquired from 21st Century Fox. That includes the “Star Wars” and Marvel superhero franchises and ABC television content.
Disney+ will also combine offerings from powerhouse brands including Pixar, with content from Hulu and sports network ESPN.
Apple last week launched a streaming television service that features a budding library of original shows starring big-name celebrities, aimed at winning over its gadget lovers at home and on the go.
The Apple TV+ on-demand streaming service launched in more than 100 countries at $4.99 per month.
Original Apple TV+ shows have so far been met with lukewarm early reviews, but the low subscription price and an offer of year-long memberships free with purchase of the company’s devices was expected to encourage viewers to tune in.
Netflix, meanwhile, has budgeted $15 billion this year for original shows, on top of the billions it has devoted to exclusive productions in recent years.
Amazon, which has deep pockets thanks to its e-commerce and cloud services, has also poured cash into original shows for its Prime Video service.
This sets up a potential spending war among the major streaming players, according to analysts.
Even more competition looms on the horizon, with AT&T’s Warner Media to launch its “HBO Max” in early 2020 after reclaiming the rights from Netflix to stream its popular television comedy “Friends.”
NBCUniversal’s Peacock service is also launching next year.